Possible job and internship opportunities were available for students and alumni last week in the Wellness Center at the annual Spring Career Expo.
Sponsored by the Toppel Career Center, the expo featured 75 companies representing a variety of industries.
Christian Garcia, associate director of the Toppel Center for Career Planning, emphasized the networking aspect the event contributes.
“It’s an excellent chance for [students] to meet with a variety of recruiters in one setting,” Garcia said. “This is not something that happens often.”
Monica Griffin, college relations program leader for the Walt Disney company, spoke with students regarding the Imagineering program, a program that combines imagination and engineering to produce family entertainment. The company set up a competition for students interested in the program. Griffin mentioned the diversity of UM as a significant reason the company decided to recruit here.
“This premier program gives students the opportunity to showcase their talent through a competition,” Griffin said. “We are looking across the board from engineers to graphic designers to model makers to creative writers.”
Other company representatives decided to use the event differently.
Jose Cosio, a financial services professional with Mass Mutual, described the expo as a first round interview for students and alumni.
“The students are very well prepared. They have read up on us and have asked us very detailed questions,” Cosio said. “One of the most common questions students asked was how our company has been affected by the market.”
For underclassmen the expo was a good chance to get a head start.
“This was the first time I had gone to any career fair,” Luca Marseglia, junior finance major, said. “It was interesting because it was good to be in touch with some of the representatives, and I could hand out my resume and talk with executives.”
Anne Ogunrinde, a graduate student who majored in computer engineering, felt there were not enough companies with available job opportunities at the expo for her area of study.
According to Garcia, most schools throughout the country are experiencing a 30 to 50 percent decrease in the amount of companies attending their career fairs; UM has not experienced this and thus continues to be a strong force in campus recruiting.
“We do our best to market our Expo to companies all over the country; the reality is that we had 19 new companies come to our Expo this year,” Garcia said. “It’s a frustrating time, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t find a job – my advice would be to be flexible and open yourself to other options.”
Garcia recommends that students consider going into an industry where current skills can be utilized and new skills can be acquired.
“People are finding jobs – it’s just taking a lot more effort on their part,” Garcia said.
Shane Spassoff, store team leader for Target, also mentioned that students should use their skills in a variety of fields they might not have considered.
Organizers say that although the amount of students in attendance at the expo decreased compared to previous years, the turnout was still strong.
“Overall it was a success,” Garcia said. “The employers in attendance were very happy with the quality of the students and alumni they spoke to.”
For a complete list of the companies that participated in the expo, visit www.miami.edu/careerexpo. For more information on career-related topics, contact the Toppel Center for Career Planning at 305-284-5451.
Paul Fajardo can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.